Skip to main content

Full text of "Preliminary negative declaration : [Hunters Point helipad]"

See other formats


PLANNING DEPARTMENT 

City and County of San Francisco 1660 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94103-2414 

Ml c\ ei:Q.£'i70 PLANNING COMMISSION ADMINISTRATION CURRENT PLANNING/ZONING LONG RANGE PIANMNG 
^ ^ Fax:558-6409 FAX: 558-6426 FAX: 558-6409 FAX: 558-6426 

Re: Attached Prehminary Negative Declaration D<^'~' iMENTS DEPT. 

JUL 2 9 1998 

S^-N FRANCISCO 

3 1223 04870 1743 puBUC LIBRARY 



SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY 



Whom It May Concern: 




Department of City Planning has reviewed the subject project, and has determined that the proposed 
ject could not have a significant effect on the environment. A PRELIMINARY NEGATIVE 

LARATION (PND) containing this finding has been prepared, a copy of which is attached. Notice of 
ilication of this document has also been published in a newspaper of general circulation on the day that 
as mailed to you. 

responses outlined below: 
informational purposes. 

g publication of the newspaper notice of such preparation - make 
;xt. Text may be amended to clarify or correct statements and 
levant issues or to cover issues in greater depth. This may be 
-OR- 

ig publication of the newspaper notice of such preparation - 
t effect in a letter which specifies the grounds for such appeal and 
3ort (EIR) be prepared. Send the appeal letter to the Department 
iman, 1660 Mission Street, San Francisco CA, 94103. The letter 
s amount of $209.00 payable to the Department of City 
pm on the 20th day following the date of the publication 
ninary Negative Declaration. The appeal letter and check may 
ig Information Counter on the first floor at 1660 Mission Street, 



N FRANCISCO 
BLIC LIBRARY 

REFERENCE 
BOOK 

o he taken from the Library 

ssion to determine whether or not an EIR must be prepared, based 
Lve a substantial adverse effect on the physical environment. If an 

eai is iiieu, mcic wm « ring at which anyone may testify for or against the contention that 

ilR is required. In the absence of an appeal, the Negative Declaration shall be made final, subject to 
essary modifications, at the end of the 30 day review period. 

se note that preparation or finalization of a Negative Declaration does not indicate a decision by the 
to approve or to disapprove the proposed project. However, prior to making any such decision, the 
ision makers must review and consider the information contained in the Negative Declaration. 



)u have any questions concerning the attached materials or this process, please contact the planner 
itified as the "Agency Contact Person" on the PND cover page. 



V^2/96 



PLANNING DEPARTMENT 

City and County of San Francisco 1660 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94103-2414 

(415)558-6378 pi^nning commission administration current planning/zoning long range pi anmng 
^ ' fax: 558-6409 fax: 558-6426 fax: 558-6409 fax: 558-6426 



To Whom It May Concern: 



Re: Attached Preliminary Negative Declaration 

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY 




^or,i iMENTS DEPT. 

JUL 2 9 1998 

S4N FRANCISCO 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



The Department of City Planning has reviewed the subject project, and has determined that the proposed 
project could not have a significant effect on the environment. A PRELIMINARY NEGATIVE 
DECLARATION (PND) containing this finding has been prepared, a copy of which is attached. Notice of 
publication of this document has also been published in a newspaper of general circulation on the day that 
it was mailed to you. 



Any person may make one or more of the responses outlined below: 
1) Review the attached materials for informational purposes. 



2) Within 30 calendar days following publication of the newspaper notice of such preparation - make 
recommendations for amendment of the text. Text may be amended to clarify or correct statements and 
may be expanded to include additional relevant issues or to cover issues in greater depth. This may be 
done without the appeal described below. - OR - 

3) Within 20 calendar days following publication of the newspaper notice of such preparation - 
appeal the determination of no significant effect in a letter which specifies the grounds for such appeal and 
requests that an environmental impact report (EIR) be prepared. Send the appeal letter to the Department 
of City Planning, Attention: Hillary Gitelman, 1660 Mission Street, San Francisco CA, 94103. The letter 
must be accompanied by a check in the amount of $209.00 payable to the Department of City 
Planning, and must be received by 5:00 pm on the 20th day following the date of the publication 
indicated on the first page of the Preliminary Negative Declaration. The appeal letter and check may 
also be presented in person at the Planning Information Counter on the first floor at 1660 Mission Street, 
San Francisco. 



An appeal requires the Planning Commission to determine whether or not an EIR must be prepared, based 
upon whether or not the project could have a substantial adverse effect on the physical environment. If an 
appeal is filed, there will be a public hearing at which anyone may testify for or against the contention that 
an EIR is required. In the absence of an appeal, the Negative Declaration shall be made final, subject to 
necessary modifications, at the end of the 30 day review period. 

Please note that preparation or finalization of a Negative Declaration does not indicate a decision by the 
City to approve or to disapprove the proposed project. However, prior to making any such decision, the 
decision makers must review and consider the information contained in the Negative Declaration. 

If you have any questions concerning the attached materials or this process, please contact the planner 
identified as the "Agency Contact Person" on the PND cover page. 



REV 2/96 



DOCUMENTS DEPT. 

JUL 2 9 1998 

<^AN FRANCIoovJ 

PRELIMINARY NEGATIVE DECLARATION puBLlC LIBRARY 



Date of Publication of Preliminary Negative Declaration: July 25, 1998 

Lead Agency: Planning Dept., City and County of San Francisco; San Francisco Redevelopment Authority 

1660 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103; 770 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102 
Agency Contact Person; Brian J. Kalahar Telephone: (415) 558-6359 



Project Title: 97.642E Hunters Point Helipad Project Sponsor: San Francisco Police Department 

Construction of asphalt landing pad Project Contact Person: Captain Tim Hettrick 

Telephone Number: (415) 553-1124 



Project Address: Hunters Point Shipyard, near the southeast comer of the intersection of Hussey and Manseau streets 
Assessor's Block(s) and Lot(s): none 
City and County: San Francisco 



Project Description: The San Francisco PoUce Department proposes to construct a 70,000 square-foot paved helicopter 
takeoff and landing pad on a currently vacant level lot at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard facility. The helicopter 
landing pad would be approximately 280 feet by 250 feet in area and located near the southeastern comer of Manseau and 
Hussey streets. The Police Department's helicopter would be housed in Building 606, across Hussey Street from the 
proposed helipad. The Police Department estimates an average of two routine flights per day, averaged over three months, 
with about eight to ten additional emergency response flights each month. Seasonal variations in flight frequency 
(decreased) would occur due to fog or marginal weather. The anticipated helicopter approach flight path (normally 270 
degrees magnetic, limited to between 255 and 285 degrees magnetic, depending upon weather conditions) would be into 
the prevailing westerly winds for nearly all operations and out over San Francisco Bay. 

The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency's proposed Reuse Plan (Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan, adopted 
1997) calls for Industrial use of the helipad site, and Maritime Industrial land uses beneath the proposed flight path. 



Building Permit Application Number, if Applicable: N/A 



THIS PROJECT COULD NOT HAVE A SIGNIFICANT EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT. This finding is based 
upon the criteria of the Guidelines of the State Secretary for Resources, Sections 15064 (Determining Significant Effect). 
15065 (Mandatory Findings of Significance) and 15070 (Decision to Prepare a Negative Declaration), and the following 
reasons as documented in the Initial Evaluation (Initial Study) for the project, which is attached: 

-Over- 
Mitigation measures, if any, included in this project to avoid potentially significant effects: see page 1 3 



cc: Capt. Tim Hettrick (SFPD) 
Tom Conrad (SFRA) 
Ilene Dick (City Attorney) 
Distribution List 
Bulletin Board 
Master Decision File 



0ER:15 



2/96 



REF 387.736 P915 

m 



Preliminary negative 
declaration : [HUnter 
1998. 



3 1223 04870 I743 



PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND SETTING 



The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) proposes to construct a 70,000 square-foot paved helicopter 
takeoff and landing pad (HLP) on a currently vacant level lot at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard 
facility (Figure 1). The helicopter landing pad (a.k.a. "helipad" or "heliport") would be approximately 280 
feet by 250 feet in area and located approximately 340 feet south of the southeastern comer of Manseau 
and Hussey streets and in a lot adjacent to Building 307 (Figure 2). The Police Department's Bell 206 
JetRanger helicopter, currently stored at Pier 96, would be housed in Building 606, directly across Hussey 
Street from the proposed helipad. For flights, the helicopter would be towed between Building 606 and 
the helipad. 

The Police Department estimates an average of two routine flights per day, averaged over three months, 
with about eight to ten additional emergency response flights each month. Seasonal variations in flight 
frequency (decreased) would occur due to fog or marginal weather. The anticipated hehcopter approach 
flight path (normally 270 degrees magnetic, limited to between 255 and 285 degrees magnetic, depending 
upon weather conditions) would be into the prevailing westerly winds for nearly all operations, directing 
both incoming and outgoing operations to a corridor approximately parallel to and equidistant between 
Hussey Street and the regunning pier and out over San Francisco Bay. Flight altimde for approaches 
would begin at 500 feet above ground level over Bay waters, descending at an angle of five to 10 degrees 
and reaching 50 feet above ground level above the helipad before descending vertically to land. The 
proposed project does not include installation of fuel tanks, nor helicopter fueling or maintenance at 
Hunters Point. 

The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency's proposed Reuse Plan (Hunters Point Shipyard 
Redevelopment Plan, adopted 1997) calls for Industrial use of the helipad site, and Maritime Industrial 
land uses beneath the proposed flight path. 

The San Francisco Police Department has agreed to the following conditions as part of the project 
description: 

The lessee (San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, or SFRA) and sublessee (SFPD): 

• are prohibited from conducting activities that disturb surrounding exposed soils. 

• are restricted from entering areas not included in the lease areal. This includes, but is not limited to, 
fenced-off areas, areas where environmental investigations are in progress, or areas where access is 
not authorized. 

• are required to erect and maintain a fence around the lease area. 

• are prohibited from disturbing any landscaping. 

• should not come into contact with exposed soil from broken or absent pavement or remediation 
activities. 

• should limit helicopter approaches to the anticipated flight path ranging from 255 to 285 degrees 
magnetic. 

• should limit the helicopter equipment to be used at the helicopter landing pad to a Bell 206 JetRanger, 
or equivalent. 

• should limit the flight altitude for approach to that specified above. 

• should limit the frequency of lights to twice a day, plus emergency response flights. The frequency 
of emergency response flights has been estimated to be eight to ten flights per month. 

• should limit the duration of rotor rotation at startup and after landing to five minutes. 



2 



• are prohibited from using Hunters Point groundwater for any reason. 

• are prohibited from performing helicopter maintenance activities that might result in the release of 
hazardous substances. 

• are prohibited from storing paint, solvents, lubricants, fuel, or other potentially hazardous materials. 

COMPATIBILITY WITH EXISTING ZONING AND PLANS 
San Francisco City Planning Code and Zoning 

The San Francisco City Planning Code, which incorporates by reference the City's Zoning Maps, governs 
permitted land uses, densities, and the configuration of buildings within San Francisco. The Planning 
Department may not issue permits to construct new buildings (or to alter or demolish existing ones) unless 
either the proposed project conforms to the Code, or it grants an exception pursuant to provisions of the 
Code. The proposed heliport is within the Hunters Point Redevelopment Area and is therefore not subject 
to San Francisco Planning Code provisions. 

Environmental plans and policies are those, Uke the Bay Area Air Quality Plan, which directly address 
environmental issues and/or contain targets or standards which public agencies must meet to preserve or 
improve characteristics of the City's physical environment. The current proposed project would not 
obviously or substantially conflict with any such adopted environmental plan or policy. 

The area surrounding (but not within) Hunters Point Shipyard (HPS) is identified as the South Bayshore 
planning area in the City's General Plan. The South Bayshore planning area contains zoning for 
residential, commercial, industrial and pubhc uses. 

Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan (adopted 1997) 

The Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan (1997) identifies the proposed heliport site for industrial 
use. Examples of industrial uses specified in the Redevelopment Plan include: 

• manufacturing, processing, fabricating and assembly of : 

medicinal and botanical products 
biological products 
food products 

chemicals and allied products 
primary and fabricated metal products 
electrical/electronic equipment and parts 

• trucking and courier services 

• wholesale sales 

• equipment leasing 

• airport-related ground transportation 

• auto-related services 

• motion picture production 

• printing and pubUshing 

• warehousing and distribution 

• artist and artisan studios 



5 



The Plan does not intend this list to be exhaustive nor inclusive, only examples of the types of land use 
anticipated in the industrial category. 

The Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan was adopted in 1997 prior to completion of the ongoing 
environmental review, which is fully consistent with Section 33492.18 of the Health and Safety Code. 

While not specified in the plan, a heliport at the proposed site would not obviously conflict with the 
Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan, nor the planned industrial uses for this site. 

The Land Use Plan (a.k.a. the Reuse Plan) is contained within the Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment 
Plan and is intended to guide future development of the Hunters Point Redevelopment Area. According 
to the Plan, "(t)he Project Area shall be redeveloped in accordance with the text and maps of this Plan. 
The use of land and buildings shall be in accordance with this Plan and with the standards and guidelines 
which may be set forth by the [Redevelopment] Agency." Any General Plan amendments deemed 
necessary would be adopted subsequent to completion of the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement / 
Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR). At this time, no General Plan amendments are anticipated. 

POTENTUL ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS 

All items on the attached Initial Study Environmental Evaluation Checklist have been checked "No," 
indicating that the Department of City Planning staff has determined that the proposed project could not 
have a significant adverse effect on the environment. Several Checklist items have been checked 
"Discussed," indicating that the Initial Study text includes discussion about that particular issue. For all of 
the items checked "No" without a discussion, the conclusions regarding potential significant adverse 
environmental effects are based on field observation, staff experience and expertise on similar projects, 
and/or standard reference material available within the Department. For each Checklist item, staff 
considered both the individual and cumulative impacts of the proposed project. 

Land Use 

The proposed project would be constructed on a vacant parcel near the southeastern comer of Manseau 
and Hussey streets and in a lot next to the vacant Building 307. The Police Department's helicopter would 
be housed in Building 606, directly across Hussey Street from the proposed helipad. Building 606 houses 
the Department's Field Operations Bureau (Canine Unit, the Muni Detail, the Tactical Squad. Property 
Control, Narcotics and the crime lab). The helicopter would be towed to and from the helipad to Building 
606. 

The proposed project would be covered by an existing master lease between the Navy and the SFRA. It 
would also be governed by an amended lease between the SFRA and the Police Department. 

The surrounding land uses are primarily open space, vacant or industrial in nature, except for Police 
Department use of Building 606. The nearest residential uses are approximately 2,000 feet north 
northwest of the proposed helipad. The Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan calls for this general 
area of the former shipyard property to be developed as industrial land. The proposed helipad would not 
obviously or substantially conflict with any existing or proposed land uses at or near the project site, 
except if it would cause noise or health effects, which are discussed below. 



6 



Visual Character and Aesthetics 



Very large unoccupied warehouse-type structures to the north and open space and maritime uses to the 
south and east occupy the level area around the proposed heUcopter landing site. Docks and berthing 
ships occupy the easternmost portion of this area. The most prominent visual feature of the area is a large 
waterfront crane structure, which is visible from all directions. 

The aesthetic impact of the proposed project would be minimal; the new construction involves only a 
70,000 square-foot paved helicopter takeoff and landing pad on a currently vacant level lot. The proposed 
landing pad is consistent with buildings in the surrounding neighborhood. The paved lot would not 
substantially change the character of the contextual setting. Therefore, the project would not adversely 
affect the visual character of the neighborhood. 

No scenic views or vistas now observed from public areas would be affected. Therefore, no significant 
adverse aesthetic impacts would occur 

Population 

The change in land use from a vacant lot to a helipad would result in a very small increase in the daytime 
population at the site. While potentially noticeable to immediately adjacent neighbors, this increase would 
not affect the existing area-wide population. No displacement of people (either from housing or 
employment) would occur, since the site is now vacant. 

Transportation 

trafHc 

Traffic impacts associated with the project would not be significant relative to the existing capacity of the 
surrounding street system. The change in area traffic as a result of the project would be undetectable to 
drivers. 

parking 

The increase in parking demand attributable to the project (if any) would not substantially alter the 
existing parking conditions in the area. 

transit 

The site is served by transit with the 19-Polk line that passes the project site at the comer of Hussey and 
Manseau Streets. The 19-Polk line serves the Hunters Point, Bayview, Potrero, South of Market, Civic 
Center, Tenderloin and North Beach neighborhoods. The proposed project is not expected to generate any 
additional transit usage, since the helipad will be used only by the San Francisco Police Department and 
by officers who will likely drive either police vehicles or their private vehicles to the site. Any change in 
ridership and transit demand associated with the project would not noticeably affect transit services in the 
area or affect acceptable transit operations. In view Of the above, project impacts on public transit would 
not be considered significant. 



7 



construction traffic 

Only very minor, short term impacts from construction traffic are anticipated. This traffic would not likely 
be noticeable to other persons or businesses in the area. 

Noise 

Potential noise impacts resulting from operation of a heliport at Hunters Point were evaluated using data 
supplied by the manufacturer of the helicopter used by the San Francisco Police Department, Bell 
Helicopter. Further evaluation was conducted based on an earlier noise study employed for a San Rafael 
Heliport Final Mitigated Negative Declaration; that project involved the use of a helicopter(s) of the same 
make and essentially the same model of aircraft as the San Francisco Police Department proposes to use at 
Hunters Point. 

The Police Department estimates an average of two routine flights per day, averaged over three months, 
with about eight to ten additional emergency response flights each month. Seasonal variations in flight 
frequency (decreased) would occur due to fog or marginal weather. The anticipated heUcopter approach 
flight path (normally 270 degrees magnetic, limited to between 255 and 285 degrees magnetic, depending 
upon weather conditions) would be into the prevaiUng westerly winds for nearly all operations, directing 
both incoming and outgoing operations to a corridor approximately parallel to and equidistant between 
Hussey Street and the regunning pier and out over San Francisco Bay. Flight altitude for approaches 
would begin at 500 feet above ground level over Bay waters, descending at an angle of five to 10 degrees 
and reaching 50 feet above ground level above the helipad before descending vertically to land. This 
flight path would take the helicopters away from any sensitive receptors, such as the residential areas on 
Hunters Point Hill and in the Bayview or South Bayshore areas (Figure 3). 

The information supplied to the Planning Department by Bell Helicopters describes noise levels for three 
flight conditions: flyover, takeoff and approach. The flyover data are of Umited use, since they describe 
noise levels related to helicopters at approximately 500 feet altitude directly above an array of 
microphones and, at Hunters Point, helicopters would not fly over sensitive receptors in the Hunters Point 
area at less than 500 feet in altitude. Ground level noise emanating from the Bell 206 JetRanger at a 
velocity of 99 knots and 500 feet in altitude is approximately 75 dBA. 

The approach condition consists of a constant speed descent on a six-degree gUde slope (SFPD describes 
their approach and takeoff angles as between five and ten degrees), passing over a microphone array at an 
altitude of 394 feet. Conditions at takeoff consist of a constant speed climb out over the microphone array 
at maximum takeoff power. Ground level noise during approach conditions is about 82 dBA; during 
takeoff conditions it is about 76 dBA. 

The San Rafael Heliport Final Mitigated Negative Declaration (September 1983) contained a noise 
assessment prepared by Charles M. Salter Associates, consultants in acoustics. The report evaluated the 
use of a helicopter(s) of the same make and essentially the same model of aircraft as the San Francisco 
Police Department proposes to use at Hunters Point, and included noise contours that show that the 
proposed San Rafael heliport would be within their General Plan limitations for industrial land uses. The 
San Rafael proposal was for up to 12 scheduled flights per day, with sensitive receptors nearer to the 
landing pad than at Hunters Point. Residential (noise-sensitive) areas at Hunters Point are nearly 2.000 
feet from the proposed heliport. 



8 



The Salter report concluded that measured noise levels from an idling Bell 206B helicopter dissipated to 
65 dBA at 400 feet from the source (San Rafael Heliport Final Mitigated Negative Declaration, Appendix 
B, Figure 1). This indicates that helicopter idhng noise would dissipate to normally acceptable levels long 
before reaching a sensitive receptor (residences, hotels, etc.). In addition, Bell Helicopter data cited in the 
same report shows that maximum noise levels for approach and landing (at similar angles to the 
anticipated flight paths) dissipated to 80 dBA approximately 280 feet from the heUpad (maximum distance 
shown). This indicates that helicopter approach and landing noise, while greater tnan idUng noise, would 
likely dissipate to acceptable levels before reaching a sensitive receptor. 

Given these data, the lack of sensitive receptors in the vicinity, restrictions on approach and landing flight 
paths and the infrequency of flights anticipated with the project compared with the San Rafael heliport 
project, significant noise impacts on residential land uses at Hunters Point would not occur. 

construction noise 

The project is required to comply with the San Francisco Noise Ordinance, San Francisco Police Code 
Article 29, which regulates mechanical equipment noise. The ordinance requires that construction noise 
from equipment, other than impact tools, not exceed 80 dBA at a distance of 100 feet from the source. 
Impact tools (jackhammers, pile drivers, impact wrenches) must have both intake and exhaust muffled to 
the satisfaction of the Director of Public Works. Section 2908 of the Ordinance prohibits construction 
work between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., if noise would exceed the ambient noise level by five dBA at the 
project property hne, unless the Director of Public Works authorizes a special permit. 

Air Quality 

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has established thresholds for projects requiring its review 
for potential air quality impacts. These thresholds are based on the minimum size projects that the District 
feels can produce air quality problems. The project would not exceed this minimum standard. 

dust 

Construction activity would temporarily raise dust levels in the area, but not to a level that would have 
significant impacts upon air quality. The project sponsor has agreed to carry out a mitigation measure to 
reduce construction-related dust emissions. 

Helicopter operations could potentially raise fugitive dust from the area around the HLP. There are 
concerns that dust raised by helicopter rotor downwash (air pushed downward by rotational force of the 
helicopter rotor) could be contaminated, thereby increasing the possibility of human exposure to toxics. 
To eliminate fugitive dust from rotor wash, the proposed project increased the size of the paved area of the 
helipad from an originally proposed 65 feet by 65 feet (4225 square feet) to approximately 280 feet by 250 
feet (70,000 square feet). 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in its comments on the Navy's Site-Specific 
Environmental Baseline Survey (EBS) and Draft Finding of Suitability to Lease (FOSL) for the proposed 
helicopter landing pad, had recommended the heliport landing pad be increased in size to 100 feet by 100 
feet, in order to alleviate their concerns relative to dust and hazardous materials. According to the EPA, 
"(t)o be conservative and ensure no threat of blowing around contaminated surface soil, the size of the 
(helipad) should be 100 feet by 100 feet and the adjacent area of 100 feet be free of contaminated soils or 



10 



paved. Ensuring the (helipad) and adjacent area meet these specifications eUminates the need for a risk 
assessment as the contamination pathway will be broken and no exposures are likely to occur." The Police 
Department now proposes a landing pad that is approximately seven times larger than that which EPA 
recommended. 

The San Francisco Police Department proposes to operate a Bell 206 JetRanger helicopter at the Hunters 
Point helipad. The Bell 206 JetRanger has a maximum gross weight of approximately 3,200 pounds; 
however, the average police operating weight is about 2,800 pounds, which requires less power to hover 
and take off, thereby creating less rotor wash. According to the San Francisco Police Department, 
helicopter rotor downwash will dissipate before reaching the ground at approximately half {V2) of the rotor 
diameter (i.e., at 17'-6" for this helicopter). Wind speed generated by this heUcopter is anywhere between 
five and 26 miles per hour (mph); during hover and takeoff it is slightly greater (SFPD; EPA). The 
elapsed time this wind is generated is approximately two to three seconds or until the helicopter reaches an 
altitude of about 1 8 feet, when the rotor wash is dissipated and does not reach ground level. The 
helicopter rotor will typically turn for approximately two to three minutes during startup and two minutes 
after landing. Dust will not be generated while the helicopter sits on the pad with the rotor running, 
because the rotor is at flat pitch while on the ground, producing no downward rotor wash. 

Public Services and Utilities 

The Navy has responsibility for law enforcement at Hunters Point Shipyard. A Memorandum of 
Understanding allows the SFPD to enforce state and local laws as long as these actions do not interfere 
with federal functions carried out on these areas of the property. The SFPD has no other jurisdiction over 
the base, except where human life is endangered. The SFPD opened its new Southern Station in the 
Bayview district in April 1997. The Southern Station serves the southeastern quadrant of the City and is 
located at Williams Avenue and Newhall Street. The Department also operates out of Building 606, next 
to the proposed site. 

The HPS Fire Department, at Blandy and Spear streets, provides fire and emergency services at HPS. The 
Department has a mutual aid agreement with the San Francisco Fire Department. SFFD has three stations 
that can respond to calls from the project site: No. 9 on Gerald Street, No. 17 on Shafter Avenue and No. 
25 on Third Street at Islais. 

No new installation of utilities or utility systems would be necessary for the proposed project. Minimal 
lighting would be required for the helipad, which would be provided by spotlights on Building 606. 

The proposed project would shghtly increase demand for and use of public services and utihties and 
slightly increase water and energy consumption, but not more than amounts expected and provided for in 
this area. 

Biological Resources 

As the proposed site is within a well-developed area of the City, it does not provide habitat for any rare or 
endangered plant or animal species. No other important biological resources are likely since the site has 
been disturbed by humans for many years. 



11 



Geologic Hazards 



Although the project site is located within a Seismic Hazards Study Zone (SHSZ) designated by the 
California Division of Mines and Geology, the project does not involve any structures. An asphalt pad 
would be constructed on a vacant lot and, therefore, does not represent a significant environmental impact 
from geologic hazards. 

Hazardous Materials 

With input from relevant regulatory agencies, the Navy prepared a Property-Specific EBS for Building 
606 and associated parking area, dated February 1996, and a FOSL for the proposed lease/sublease to 
SFRA and SFPD. The Environmental Assessment from the EBS described issues of potential concern and 
required conditions to assure no effect. These conditions are considered part of the proposed action and 
include the following: 

• prohibit entrance to the fenced IR-38 and IR-39 sites (west of Building 606); 

• prohibit interference with ongoing cleanup of a former PCB spill at IR-8, at the southeast end of 
Building 606; 

• avoid contact with storm drain sediment and prohibit discharge of any material to the storm drain 
system (especially the storm drains located at the northwest of Building 606); 

• prohibit entrance to any fenced areas, adhere to all warning signs and prohibit disturbance to any of 
the facility's utilities or landscaping. 

The EPA, in its comments on the Navy's Site-Specific EBS and Draft FOSL for the proposed helicopter 
landing pad, had recommended the heliport landing pad be increased in size to 100 feet by 100 feet, in 
order to alleviate their concerns relative to dust and hazardous materials. According to the EPA, "(t)o be 
conservative and ensure no threat of blowing around contaminated surface soil, the size of the (helipad) 
should be 100 feet by 100 feet and the adjacent area of 100 feet be free of contaminated soils or paved. 
Ensuring the (helipad) and adjacent area meet these specifications eliminates the need for a risk assessment 
as the contamination pathway will be broken and no exposures are likely to occur." The Police 
Department now proposes a landing pad that is approximately seven times larger than that which EPA 
recommended, sufficient to eliminate the possibility of blowing contaminated soil from helicopter 
operations. 

Cultural Resources 

The proposed project would not impact historical or archaeological resources on or eligible for the 
National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) because no such resources are known to be present at the 
proposed helipad site. The California State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) has concurred with the 
determination that only Dry Dock #4 is individually eligible for inclusion for the National Register, and 
that all remaining properties within Hunters Point Shipyard and outside the Hunters Point Commercial 
Dry Dock Historic District are not eligible for the National Register (California Office of Historic 
Preservation, letter dated May 29, 1998). The proposed helipad is not within the Hunters Point 
Commercial Dry Dock Historic District. 

Arc Ecology, a San Francisco pubUc interest group, has expressed concerns regarding helicopter 
operations at Hunters Point. Specifically, they cite potential adverse environmental consequences of 



12 



helicopter operations at a designated Superfund site undergoing cleanup activities, presumably related to 
hazardous materials in the soil being dispersed by helicopter downwash. However, the Navy has issued a 
Categorical Exclusion from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the helicopter landing pad, 
citing Categorical Exclusion No. 19. The Categorical Exclusion indicates that the proposed additional use 
of the helicopter landing pad in support of existing SFPD use in Building 606 constitutes no substantial 
change in land use as described in the Environmental Assessment (EA) for Building 606 and adjacent 
area. "This additional use in support of an existing short term lease does not estabhsh precedent for future 
significant effects, and creates no new/increased impacts or emissions," according to the Categorical 
Exclusion. 

While local concerns or other planning considerations may be grounds for modification or denial of the 
proposal, in the independent judgement of the Department of City Planning, there is no substantial 
evidence that the project could have a significant effect on the environment. 

MITIGATION MEASURE 

Mitigation Measure 1 : Construction Air Quality : The project sponsor would require the contractor(s) to 
spray the site with water during all excavation and construction activities; spray unpaved construction 
areas with water at least twice per day; cover stockpiles of soil, sand, and other material; cover trucks 
hauling debris, soils, sand or other such material; and sweep surrounding streets during excavation and 
construction at least once per day to reduce particulate emissions. 

Ordinance 175-91, passed by the Board of Supervisors on May 6, 1991, requires that non-potable water be 
used for dust control activities. Therefore, the project sponsor would require that the contractor(s) obtain 
reclaimed water from the Clean Water Program for this purpose. The project sponsors would require the 
project contractor(s) to maintain and operate construction equipment so as to minimize exhaust emissions 
of particulates and other pollutants, by such means as a prohibition on idling motors when equipment is 
not in use or when trucks are waiting in queues, and implementation of specific maintenance programs to 
reduce emissions for equipment that would be in frequent use for much of the construction period. 



13 



ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATION CHECKLIST 



(Initial Study Checklist) 



File No: 97.642E Title: San Francisco Police Helipad 

Street Address: HPSY, east side of Hussev St., between Manseau & Mahan Sts. Assessor's Block/Lot: n/a 
Initial Study Prepared by: Brian J. Kalahar. AICP 

Not 

A. COMPATIBILITY WITH EXISTING ZONING AND PLANS Applicable Discussed 



1) Discuss any variances, special authorizations, or changes pro- 
posed to the City Planning Code or Zoning Map, if applicable. X_ _X 

2) Discuss any conflicts with any adopted environmental 

plans and goals of the City or Region, if applicable. JL JL 

B. ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS - Could the project : 



1) Land Use YES NO DISCUSSED 

(a) Disrupt or divide the physical arrangement of an 

established community? _ JL JL 

(b) Have any substantial impact upon the existing 

character of the vicinity? _ JL JL 



2) Visual Oualitv 

(a) Have a substantial, demonstrable negative aesthetic effect? _ JL JL 

(b) Substantially degrade or obstruct any scenic view or 

vista now observed from public areas? _ JL JL 

(c) Generate obtrusive light or glare substantially 

impacting other properties? _ JL JL 

3) Population 

(a) Induce substantial growth or concentration of population? 

(b) Displace a large number of people (involving either 

housing or employment)? 

(c) Create a substantial demand for additional housing in San 

Francisco, or substantially reduce the housing supply? 



2L JL 
2L _ 
X 



4) Transportation/Circulation 

(a) Cause an increase in traffic which is substantial 

in relation to the existing traffic load and 
capacity of the street system? 

(b) Interfere with existing transportation systems, 

causing substantial alterations to circulation 
patterns or major traffic hazards? 

(c) Cause a substantial increase in transit demand which cannot be 

accommodated by existing or proposed transit capacity? 

(d) Cause a substantial increase in parking demand which 

cannot be accommodated by existing parking facilities? 



Noise 

(a) Increase substantially the ambient noise levels for 

adjoining areas? 

(b) Violate Title 24 Noise Insulation Standards, if applicable? 

(c) Be substantially impacted by existing noise levels? 

Air Quality/Climate 

(a) Violate any ambient air quality standard or contribute 

substantially to an existing or projected air quality 
violation? 

(b) Expose sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant 

concentrations? 

(c) Permeate its vicinity with objectionable odors? 

(d) Alter wind, moisture or temperature (including sun shading 

effects) so as to substantially affect public areas, or 
change the climate either in the community or region? 

Utilities/Public Services 

(a) Breach published national, state or local standards 

relating to solid waste or litter control? 

(b) Extend a sewer trunk line with capacity to serve new 

development? 

(c) Substantially increase demand for schools, recreation 

or other public facihties? 

(d) Require major expansion of power, water, or communications 

facihties? 

Biology 

(a) Substantially affect a rare or endangered species of 

animal or plant or the habitat of the species? 

(b) Substantially diminish habitat for fish, wildlife or 

plants, or interfere substantially with the movement 
of any resident or migratory fish or wildlife species? 

(c) Require removal of substantial numbers of mature, 

scenic trees? 

Geology/Topography 

(a) Expose people or structures to major geologic hazards 

(slides, subsidence, erosion and Uquefaction). 

(b) Change substantially the topography or any unique 

geologic or physical features of the site? 

Water 

(a) Substantially degrade water quality, or contaminate a 

public water supply? 

(b) Substantially degrade or deplete ground water re- 

sources, or interfere substantially with ground 
water recharge? 

(c) Cause substantial flooding, erosion or siltation? 



YES NO DISCUSSED 



Energy/Natural Resources 

(a) Encourage activities which result in the use of 

large amounts of fuel, water, or energy, or use 

these in a wasteful manner? _ X_ _X_ 

(b) Have a substantial effect on the potential use, 

extraction, or depletion of a natural resource? _ X_ X 

Hazards 

(a) Create a potential public health hazard or involve the 

use, production or disposal of materials which pose a 
hazard to people or animal or plant populations in the 

area affected? . _ X_ X_ 

(b) Interfere with emergency response plans or emergency 

evacuation plans? _ X_ 

(c) Create a potentially substantial fire hazard? _ X_ 

Cultural 

(a) Disrupt or adversely affect a prehistoric or historic 

archaeological site or a property of historic or 
cultural significance to a community or ethnic or 
social group; or a paleontological site except as a 

part of a scientific study? _ X_ Ji_ 

(b) Conflict with established recreational, educational, 

religious or scientific uses of the area? _ X_ 

(c) Conflict with the preservation of buildings subject 

to the provisions of Article 10 or 

Article 11 of the City Planning Code? _ JL 

OTHER 

Require approval and/or permits from City Departments other than 
Department of City Planning or Bureau of Building Inspection, 

or from Regional, State or Federal Agencies? _X_ X 

MITIGATION MEASURES YES NO N/A DISCUSSED 

Could the project have significant effects if mitigation 

measures are not included in the project? JL X 

Are all mitigation measures necessary to eliminate significant 

effects included in the project? JL X 



E. MANDATORY FINDINGS OF SIGNIFICANCE YES NO DISCUSSED 

1 ) Does the project have the potential to degrade the quahty 

of the environment, substantially reduce the habitat of 
a fish or wildUfe species, cause a fish or wildlife 
population to drop below self-sustaining levels, threaten 
to eliminate a plant or animal community, reduce the 
number or restrict the range of a rare or endangered 
plant or animal, or eliminate important examples of the 

major periods of California history or pre-history? JC_ 

2) Does the project have the potential to achieve short-term, 

to the disadvantage of long-term, environmental goals? X_ JC_ 

3) Does the project have possible environmental effects which 

are individually limited, but cumulatively considerable? 
(Analyze in the Ught of past projects, other current 

projects, and probable future projects.) X_ X_ 

4) Would the project cause substantial adverse effects on 

human beings, either directly or indirectly? _ X_ _X_ 

F. ON THE BASIS OF THIS INITIAL STUDY 

I find the proposed project COULD NOT have a significant effect on the environment, and a NEGATIVE 

DECLARATION will be prepared by the Department of City Planning. 

X I find that although the proposed project could have a significant effect on the environment, there WILL NOT 
be a significant effect in this case because the mitigation measure, number 1 in the discussion have been 
included as part of the proposed project. A NEGATIVE DECLARATION will be prepared. 

I find that the proposed project MAY have a significant effect on the environment, 

and an ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT is required. 




DATE: U,, 2 fHf 



HILLARY E. GITELMAN 
Environmental Review Officer 

for 

Gerald G. Green 
Director of Planning 



g:\projects\huntersp\helipad\pndtext.wpd